GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Mariners 8, Angels 6
This was the series that the Angels were supposed to use in order keep up with Texas. I know it. You know it. They know it. Everyone knows it.
The Halos are toying with a .500 record and lacking in anything resembling capitalization.
Seattle and Oakland decided to put the smack-down on their fellow AL West teams (and by smack-down, I mean they just flat out won) this week and thankfully, the Angels and Rangers suffered the same amount of losses.
The line up didn't have the temporary consistency that showed up during that miraculous win streak. But, I don't want to blame the line up for this loss. I have something else in mind.
Mike Scioscia is not handling the bullpen the right way and it is affecting the ball club in the most negative ways...as in...they lose the lead and then lose the game.
The Angels found themselves in a similar situation tonight when Mike Scioscia decided to bring Bobby Cassevah in to finish off the top of the 6th inning (and when I oh-so conveniently decided to take my dog for walk). Cassevah isn't ready. Plain and simple. It takes a lot more than physical ability to maintain a one run lead for your team. Not only is Cassevah not ready in terms of skill (losing a game of hide and seek with the strike zone), he isn't ready mentally. That's the case for a lot of younger ball players. It takes some getting used to, but he just isn't ready yet. Scioscia is testing Cassevah's limits and throwing him in high pressure situations. A pitcher may gain confidence from that if they get lucky and go lights out. Not the case for Cassevah...at all.
Scioscia's bullpen choices of late have left me begging for Hisanori Takahashi and that's saying a lot.
On a more positive note: Kendrys Morales is finding a rhythm. After going yard for the fourth time this month, we may be seeing a glimpse of the old Kendrys. He's set to get some time in at first base as the Angels head to Colorado to play the Rockies, and back to southern California to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time this year. Interleague play will give him the opportunity to play defense for the first time in two years.
If Morales would like to lead by example, I think the Angels would benefit from their teammate. The game of baseball is about finding a rhythm. If the Angels can mimic Morales in finding a rhythm (more home runs would be nice, too), they can go take care of business during interleague play.
Off to the Mile High City they go.
GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Mike Trout was called up a little over a month ago and it is already clear that he has become the hero of the Angels' season. He's done superhuman things at the plate, on the bases and in the field. He is just so amazing that I cannot believe he is just a 20-year old human being. The more I think about, the more I have come to realize that Mike Trout is Superman.
Like, for real, actually Superman.
I know that sounds like crazy hyperbole, but I'm dead serious. Mike Trout is the last son of Krypton and I can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Exhibit A: Mike Trout is "faster than a speeding bullet"
For those of you without a stopwatch handy, that's Mike Trout busting down the line and getting from home to first in 3.53 seconds, which is arguably the fastest such time since the great Mickey Mantle did it in 3.5 seconds back in the day. That, my friends, is super speed.
Seattle Mariners (25-33) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (29-28)
Pitching Probables: SEA – Hector Noesi (2-6, 5.51 ERA) LAA – Jerome Williams (6-2, 3.68 ERA)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830
If the Angels are going to avoid sweeping teams at all costs, I'd prefer they at least win the series.
When the Angels took on New York and Texas, I honestly wasn't expecting a sweep from of the 2012 Halos (and I'm sure I speak for more than one person, here). The mere fact that they pulled off two wins against each of those teams was a little shocking, but hey, they ran into a hot ball club on a streak no one could break.
But they should finish what they've started.
The Angels have set themselves up to take yet another series against a team we should sweep every single time. But hey, what is Angels' baseball without a curveball or sixteen?
With Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo swinging hot bats (welcome back to that, Trumbo), the Halos still have enough positive evergy to tough out the rest of the first half of the season.
Let's begin by finishing off Seattle. It's not that difficult...right? Right.
The Angels usually have that one big pick every year. It's a marquee player taken early in the draft that defines the direction of the organization. In 2011 it was CJ Cron. In 2010 Kaleb Cowart, and before him there was Mike Trout, Tyler Chatwood and Hank Conger. This year would be different though. The Angels didn't have an early pick. They surrendered their first and second round picks when they signed Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. So instead of finding an elite player and filling out the depth from there, the Angels were forced to make up for it by making sure their organizational needs were met. They needed to make smart picks and shore up their weaknesses. And what exactly is the Angels biggest organizational need?
Relief pitching. Not since 2008, could the Angels count on preserving a lead night in and night out or having a bullpen that could keep them in the game. Current General Manager Jerry Dipoto was once a reliever, and fully understands the importance of having an elite bullpen. After taking the job as GM he proceeded to sign LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen and traded for Ernesto Frieri to supplement a bullpen that blew more leads than any team in baseball last season. Admittedly, Hawkins and Isringhausen are more than likely one year fixes. As good as they are, both appear to be reaching the twilight of their careers. So the order Dipoto gave Scouting Director Ric Wilson was simple. It probably went a little something like "Ric, find me some relief pitchers. This team doesn't have 5 years to wait on them to fail as starters and turn into mediocre relievers. I need game-enders and I need them now."
And find them, Ric Wilson did. After not having a single pick in the first two rounds of the draft (day one), the Angels had thirteen picks on day two. Of those thirteen picks, the Angels selected SEVEN college pitchers. Of their first seven selections, five were college pitchers. From the look of things, the Angels have relief help on the way, and it's entire possibly they won't have to wait long for it to arrive in the big leagues.
Round 3: Angels select RHP R.J. Alvarez from Florida Atlantic. As a reliever, Alvarez was 5-0 with a 0.72 ERA whole striking out 47 batters in 37 innings. He comes fully equipped with a high 90's heater and a devastating breaking pitch. With a fast, violent delivery and low-three-quarters release, Alvarez does not dispense with the pleasantries. He takes the mound and hucks that baseball as hard as he possibly can and says "hit this, if you can". That's the mentality of a major league reliever. That's the mentality of R.J. Alvarez.
Round 4: Angels select 2B Alex Yarbrough from Ole Miss. Yarbrough hit .380 as a college junior and shouldn't need a ton of time in the minors. While he lacks the power or speed to grow into a superstar, he plays a solid second base and for lack of a better descriptive sentence, he simply hits the ball.
The June 6th, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including Conger called up, Angels draft heavy on college pitchers, Iannetta could be back in two weeks and much more...
The Monkey Says: It sounds as if Conger will get the majority of the starts until Iannetta or Wilson return if only because he can hit left-handed. What he really needs to do though is show Scioscia that he can hold his own defensively and do so without sacrificing the focus on his offense like he did during his time with the club last season.
The Monkey Says: 12 of the 13 selections were college players. Eight of the draftees were pitchers and of those eight, at least five figure to be relievers. It is an interesting strategy for the first year of Dipoto's regime as they clearly are looking to beef up the depth of the system by taking college players who can help in the big leagues very fast. The sterling example of this was their first selection, Roy "RJ" Alvarez who is pretty much a finished product as a reliever and could easily have a shot at breaking into the majors in 2013. We'll have a more in-depth post on the Angels draft selections a little later today.
Pretty fancy shmancy game by the Halo's today. Trumbo bounced back from his horrible 4 strikeout game yesterday with two big blasts, funny timing with those homeruns as Robinson Cano was recently named AL home run derby captain. Trumbo is the kind of guy to make statements about his playing ability, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him playing himself into not only the Home Run Derby, but the All-Star team as a reserve most likely.
Oh, and that Garrett Richards kid ain't too bad himself, if he keeps this up I wouldn't be surprised to see him wrestle Santana's rotation spot away. Let's be real, with Santana performing so poorly in a walk year the Angels don't really have much to lose with pushing him to a bullpen spot or even one of Scioscia's special extended DL trips.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves here, one start is just one start after all. Nothing to get too crazy about.
Then again....pretty much anything could be better than Santana.
Angels 6 Mariners 1
Seattle Mariners (25-32) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (28-28)
Pitching Probables: SEA – Blake Beavan (3-4, 4.72 ERA) LAA – Garrett Richards (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830
The Angels are back at .500!
Woohooooo!!!! Thank you Ervin Santana!
You know it really does not look like his two-faced Dr. Jekyll Mr.Hyde flip flop act on the mound is going to come to an end anytime soon, here's to hoping top pitching prospect Garrett Richards can deal as hard as we need him too and bump Santana out of the order. Anyone feeling a case of Scioscia's famous mystery DL appearance for Santana yet?
The Rangers have been getting pounded hard by mediocre teams the past week (Angels not included.....or are they?), I mean for chrissakes these guys almost got no-hit by the lowly A's last night!!
This is the perfect time to cut some games off the standings, sure the Angels should be 2 games back today instead of the 4, but we'll have to take whatever we can get and hope a series win against the Mariners can bring the Angels to closing that deficit.